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Page 3 Profile: Robert the Bruce, Scottish monarch

Robert the who?

King Robert I, popularly known as Robert the Bruce, was one of the most famous warriors of his generation. Today marks 700  years since the King of Scots led  his country to victory over  England at the Battle of Bannockburn. Fought on 23-24 June 1314, this key Scottish win in the First War of Scottish Independence was a major landmark in the country’s history.

How did Robert contribute?

During his reign, Robert I, who lived from 1274 to 1329, helped to regain Scotland’s place as a sovereign nation, and today he is remembered in Scotland as a national hero. At the Battle of Bannockburn he defeated a much larger English army under  Edward II, confirming the re-establishment of an independent Scottish monarchy.

A cause for celebration for many?

The anniversary was commem-orated at the weekend at home and farther afield. In Scotland, members of the Society of William Wallace joined 400 people on a march to the battlefield. And more than 10,000 miles away, in Victoria, Australia, thousands of people gathered in the town of Bannockburn, which was named by Scottish settlers in 1892, to watch a re-enactment of the battle.

But not everybody’s happy…

Last week, Sir John Major accused Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, and the Scottish National Party (SNP) of deliberately setting the date for the referendum on Scottish independence for this year to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Sir John, who served as Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997, told journalists in Edinburgh: “I find it rather sad that the SNP chose the anniversary of Bannockburn for the vote, presumably to maximise the opportunity for any anti-English sentiment that may exist.”

Surely the SNP could not have been so calculated?

Stewart Maxwell, an SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament, doesn’t believe so. He took umbrage at the former Prime Minister’s comments, calling them “woefully out of touch”. Mr Maxwell added: “He was wrong about a Scottish parliament in the 1990s, and he is wrong about an independent Scotland now.”

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